Title: Devil’s Night
Author: S.L. Armstrong, K. Piet, Alina Ray, Azalea Moone, Tali Spencer
Cover Artist: Dare Empire
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 42,500 words
infernal host is on the prowl. They want your soul, and they're not
afraid to bargain for it. They'll promise you everything you could ever
desire, but the price tag may be steeper than you can handle. Whether
tempting and seducing mortals, defiling angels, or reveling among
themselves, the fiendish creatures in these four haunting tales know
that while good is okay, evil is just more fun.
Thaddeus sold his
soul to save his family long ago, but the deal he struck with the demon
Belial has him spending eternity managing Le Carnaval du Diable, filled
to the brim with others damned into servitude. Belial wants more than
Thaddeus' soul, though, and his constant advances only add to Thaddeus'
stress as he faces a threat to The Devil's Midway.
finds himself Hell Bound and destined for an eternity of torture at the
hands of the demon Karawan, despite having no memory of the sin that
condemned him to this existence. Over time, though, those memories
return, along with an unnatural attraction to Karawan, which leads them
both down a path neither of them could have possibly imagined.
the Hounds Come Out to Play, Ryu and Keir are released from their
chains to hunt the wayward damned and drag them down to Hell. A breath
of freedom is an opportunity for fun, however, and Ryu isn't about to
waste it, even if it means getting caught in a case of mistaken identity
with a handsome stranger.
Finally, Beltran is a man of heritage
and honor, and when his cousin is brutalized, he has few qualms about
consulting a local Inca shaman on her behalf. Little does he know the
price of the charm he seeks will make him The Seventh Sacrifice in the
amaru demon Kitara's ancient quest for revenge.
anthology with some favorite authors and new to me names, and a fine
diabolical streak running through the stories. Sexual tension, in gobs.
Danger and threats, lots and lots. Hellishly charming beings,
definitely. Hot sex, oh yeah. But if you read expecting romance, you
aren’t going to be happy.
I’ve been reading S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet for a while now, and have enjoyed their growth as a team. The Devil’s Midway
is their strongest I’ve read yet. Thaddeus, the POV character, is a
genuinely good man who sold his soul for the best of reasons. He’s the
only one who can stand up to Belial, though it’s growing more and more
difficult to turn down what the demon offers. Thaddeus’ struggle is with
himself; the story is extremely tense, and manages to be both sexy and
frightening at the same time.
Alina Ray’s Hell Bound
was impossible for me to get involved with, since one of the characters
was discovering his kink a little late. Rookie demon Karawan doesn’t
know what to make of Craig’s reactions to his torture, and I was having
some real issues with the torture being entwined with everything else.
Pain play sends me running. YMMV.
When the Hounds Come Out to Play
from Azalea Moone had an interesting twist, since one of the characters
was a shape-shifting, candy-stealing hellhound. Being a bit unclear on
some human conventions, Ryu’s Halloween night becomes extra interesting
when he spends quite a lot of it with a human male. The
dog-out-of-collar moments provided flashes of humor to leaven the
anthology and were cute, with an edge. Grant was a hard character to get
into, being inconsistent and with some knowledge that gave the entire
encounter an air of WTF in retrospect.
The Seventh Sacrifice
is the first of Tali Spencer’s works I’ve read, but it won’t be the
last. This was a beautifully crafted story, combining the exotic
atmosphere of La Paz, the native lore of Bolivia, and characters that
are both in opposition and aligned in some ways. That the author
entwines their stories and lives to bring them into something
unexpected, and definitely not entirely consensual but still satisfying
is a testament to skill and vision. While certainly not a standard
romance, there is underlying respect between Beltran and Kitara, and a
definite sense that what is necessary will become something treasured.
with any anthology, the stories will vary, but here they are varying
within a high and narrow range. Even allowing for personal squick on one
story, I’m still quite pleased with the overall effect of this
collection. Because of bias my rating doesn’t include Hell Bound¸ since I
honestly can’t differentiate between what’s done well or not in a
sub-genre that makes my skin crawl.
With the reservation of the pain play story, Devil’s Night is recommended for the reader who doesn’t require a consistently happy ending but does want tension and heat. 4.5 stars